look-worthy; both on the big scale and the small

16 03 2013

Deon had a business trip to Longido area planned and because we missed each other far too much when he did the last trip alone, I went along.  As is usual, the acronym RFA applies in Tanzania: we had to be ready for anything: to change date of return from four days to a week, to move backwards-forwards-to-fro several times at short notice, to stay in some rather basic accommodation and to each day, after driving on the roads, be immensely grateful to still be alive.   (Driving on Tanzanian roads is very very good for saying prayers and a life of faith.)

We both really love the environment around Longido.  The terrain is a lot like the wooded bushveld we feel at home in in SA.  There is not much development in the area, only Maasai settlements sparsely spread across several miles.  I have an idea that there are some dreadful differences in wishes for rain: the Maasai long for rain to fall to provide grazing for their herds, and the geologists are dreading the impending falls as this means they cannot access the area they need (through a very muddy river bed) or work out in the field at a critical time of investigation. 

The scorched earth dried up within moments of any rains that fell while we were there, but this is not yet the onset of rainy season!

Sculpted acacia trees oversee all the movement across the brown swathes of  dry earth below them.  From the destructive masses of domesticated hooves of goats and cattle, to the  less invasive wild feet of genurek, dikdik and zebra that pass below, the acacias infuse the atmosphere with dignity, determined endurance and beauty.

Rocky koppies (little hills) dot the horizon and some ridges pass lines across what is obviously the same kind of terrain as the Serengeti.  One passes through similar plains on the road from Arusha to Longido, and the mustard-scrubby brush dotted with thorny bushes is similar in both places.

Those not willing to pay the silly-exorbitant fees charged by the authorities to get into Serengeti can enjoy some of the blessings of the wilds here. One does not see the great numbers of wild one sees in Serengeti, but we were not disappointed by the large numbers of giraffe we saw the one day in particular.

We saw zebra, impala, dikdik (left above) and some other kinds of antelope.  I was longing to see the elephant that had been spotted on the site just the day before, but they had moved further on their migration.  It was such a lovely sight to see my first Lesser Kudu, the fine dude on the right above. We are familiar with the greater kudu, rather common in many SA parks. This is the shy cousin and is not keen to be seen at all. The markings are more marked and the horns smaller than its bulkier Greater Kudu cousins.  This sighting was a special privilege!

While Deon was out digging holes for surveys and ensuring that line cutting was being done correctly, I took time to note the small things.

Colours composed as only the Master Artist can arrange, with designs so carefully crafted just a single look is never enough.

A range of textures that Intelligent Design is far too inferior a term for description.

Homes that some find so welcoming yet I would never want to vist at all!

IT was always with a twinge of regret we made our way back to town,at the base of Longido Mountain, at the end of each day.

There was some business to take care of in Arusha town too. The delight of some treats we cannot get very easily in Mwanza (raspberries, biltong, fresh roses, good coffee…) and the lush prettiness of the city made dealing with the crowds and horrible traffic bearable.  The lodge we stay at there has a lovely pool too, which makes Deon smile! 

And then back to Longido.

Donkeys, Cheerful greetings from children, different birds to the usual,  gorgeous sunsets with mountain backgrounds…

And another trip to Maasailand comes to a close. 

We realise again and again how privileged we are to see such amazing places, to experience the things we get to live through and even to grow through some interesting challenges in dealing with people we see every day.




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